May 30, 2005

Albanese slams Immigration Department over Grayndler children in detention

ALBANESE SLAMS IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT OVER GRAYNDLER CHILDREN IN DETENTION

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese – 30 May 2005

Today in Parliament, Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese raised the removal of two children from Stanmore Public School on 8 March 2005.

Mr Albanese told Parliament:

“I wish to draw the attention of the House the fact that officers of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs removed two children from Stanmore Public School in my electorate on 8 March 2005.

This outrageous removal occurred without the presence of a legal guardian or relative of the children and without prior notice to the department of education.

This process resulted in emotional trauma to the two children involved, to their friends, their teachers, allied staff and parents of the school. I ask that DIMIA immediately review the current practice of removal of children from school grounds and I intend to table a petition along those lines.

The fact is that it is unacceptable in 2005 to have DIMIA officers knock on the window of a classroom and drag out two children, one of whom was born in this nation, take them to Villawood and lock them up.

It is traumatic for those kids, and it is traumatic for every child in that school.

It is typical of a department which is out of control, a department which has lost any sense of compassion and humane treatment and a department which is behaving in an unAustralian way.

I ask the minister to stop this activity and to ensure, as my community would expect, that children are treated decently. That is why all kids should be out from behind barbed wire and out of detention.”

Mr Albanese will table a petition of residents, organised by Stanmore Public School.